Japan is notoriously expensive, but there are cheap things in Japan. You just have to know where to look for them!
When I came here I was blown away, just by how much I was spending on FOOD. I couldn’t believe it. It was more than I’d ever spent living in the US. But that was before I discovered the secrets! The grocery store near my house has a special sale day every Tuesday and Saturday. This is pretty common. Supermarkets usually have sale days like this, you just have to know when they are.
Of course, like back home, you can get coupons to use at the store. Unfortunately, these coupons are usually in Japanese. If you know a little Japanese, there are some basic kanji and words you can learn, so that you can read the coupons and tell, for example, where it’s good and when the expiration date is.
In Japan, trains are the way to travel. In any remotely urban area, everybody uses the trains to get around. And, yes, there are guys who work at the train station that push people onto crowded commuter trains so the door will close, but that’s only in the really crowded part of Tokyo! Probably not your station!
When you first get to Japan, it’s a good idea to explore your local train station. The trains were especially confusing for me when I first got here. I recommend checking out the station, seeing which platforms go where, getting a timetable, things like that. It’s not a bad idea to take a trip to the station where you’ll be working, just to get an idea of how to get there. That way, you won’t run the risk of getting lost on the first day!
Thinking of Japan tourism? It’s the most wonderful place in the world, and chances are you won’t want to go back home! If you’re thinking about coming to Japan for a visit, here is a quick FAQ.
Q: Do I need a visa to visit Japan?
A: Probably not. For most countries in the world, you don’t need a visa unless you are planning on staying or working while you’re here. If you are from the USA, the UK, Australia, Canada, New Zealand or Ireland, you don’t need a visa. You just need a passport. How long you can stay with a passport varies from country to country, so check with your local embassy.
Q: What’s the money like?
A: The currency in Japan is yen, and you can buy yen in any major bank or money exchangers. Last I checked, it was about 120 yen to a dollar. In Japan, everybody carries lots of cash, so it’s okay to do that. Visa, American Express, Mastercard and Diners Club are accepted just about anywhere. You can cash travelers checks at major banks, hotels and some shops. Don’t plan to use ATM’s, though. Most of them do not accept foreign credit cards. For convenience sake, I would recommend just bringing cash. You can always change it when you get here at the airport.